The Akkar Summer School
From 28 August till 22 September 2017, participants from around the world came to the R&R Peace Centre for our first "Akkar Summer School of Spiritual Solidarity". International participants from various academic backgrounds joined forces with local volunteers from Syria and Lebanon to reflect upon this guiding principle of our work. Academic courses on political, religious, legal and humanitarian aspects of the Syrian refugee crisis were combined with outreach activities and the implementation of small solidarity projects in the different communities we serve.
The concept of "spiritual solidarity" has become one of the guiding principles for the work of R&R Syria in the North of Lebanon. It encompasses the need for going beyond mere material help in response to an epochal crisis like the Syrian conflict. At the crossroads between conflict transformation and humanitarian aid, the idea of "spiritual solidarity" can help us to minimise power gaps and neo-colonial attitudes towards those we serve. By addressing each man and womand as an individual being with a unique spiritual experience, the application of this principle can open a space of encounter that is not marked by the dichotomy of those in need and those who give. Also, spiritual solidarity means that people of different convictions can live and work together without forcing a total homogenisation of beliefs and belongings.
Four weeks of reflection, dialogue and diapraxis have definitely not been enough to explore the meaning of "spiritual solidarity" in all its dimensions. Not all participants could fully relate to the concept but a beginning was made to foster the reflection for the future. A publication is planned for the beginning of next year in preparation of a second edition of this Akkar Summer School. We will also pursue the reflection with our volunteers at the R&R Peace Centre and with our members from around the world. Please join the debate to share your own thoughts on this topic!
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Welcome to R&R
You are on the homepage of Relief & Reconciliation International AISBL, a non-profit organisation under Belgian law that is combining peacebuilding with humanitarian aid in response to the Syrian crisis. We are uniting different communities around a common cause: the future of the youth. We opened our first Peace Centre and a refugee camp school in the North of Lebanon, only 12 km from the Syrian border. Read more on the following pages about who we are and what we do.